Parents: you hereby have permission to play video games with your kids. There's a PhD who has taught at UC Berkeley who argues that video games are actually good for them (and us).
Jane McGonigal is a game designer and researcher in Northern California, where she currently works as Director of Game Research & Development at the think-tank, Institute for the Future.
She has a number of talks on TED.com, all of which talk about the positive affects of gaming, and how games could (and should) be used to improve the world. Her book is called Reality is Broken (How Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World).
According to Dr McGonigal, there are 10 positive emotions associated with gaming:
- Awe & Wonder
I don't know about you, but I was surprised to read this. But then, is it surprising? I'm not a big gamer, but I love a game of Scrabble on my iPhone, and while I wouldn't go so far as saying it fills me with love, it's a pretty nice experience.
Furthermore, in this world of instilling 'grit' in our kids so they aren't afraid to fail, Dr McGonigal points out things like: "Gamers spend 80% of their time failing." What would YOU do if you weren't afraid to fail? She also says that playing video games has been scientifically proven to combat anxiety and depression.
No, your 13-year old son did not pay us to write this article. (Someone else did, and they'd like you to find games to play with your kids on www.ArcyDarty.com.)